August 15, 2007

Today's Front Pages Analysis

The heat is on, both literally and figuratively

It sure is getting warm, as toy manufacturers in China came under fire once again. Mattel recalled millions more defective toys, and front pages reflected the seriousness of the story. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch gave detailed instructions to help people tell the differences between the recalled toys and satisfactory ones. The OC Post in Santa Ana, Calif., had a large graphic even a young child would understand with the headline “ ‘Too Dangerous.’ ” The Longview (Tex.) News-Journal said, “Recalls Give Toy Industry a Black Eye,” which they showed graphically by giving Barbie a black eye.

It’s also hot in the South. The Birmingham (Ala.) News said the week’s temperatures were “record-setting,” with eight straight days of 100 degrees or higher. The Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times Free Press offered a slightly different angle and put a story about outdoor workers coping with the heat on its front page. Greensboro, N.C.’s News & Record said it best with the headline, “We’re Just Baking.”

Although it still feels like summer outside, it’s the beginning of the school year in many places. Oklahoma City’s The Oklahoman addressed the issue of summer heat on school days with an article about modifications for classrooms in the triple-digit heat. Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer featured the very serious subject of school rankings on its front page. However, The Kentucky Enquirer in Fort Mitchell channeled the child in all of us with its headline, “Vacation Over? But It Just Began!”

And finally, some strange news. The Record Searchlight from Redding, Calif., gave us the front-page story titled “Sticky situation” about a robbery attempt at a liquor store in which the ne’er-do-well concealed his identity by wrapping duct tape around his head. He drew laughs from the patrons of the store he held up. We wouldn’t imagine the unmasking was a pleasant experience either. And tied for first place in the strange-headlines category were The Register-Guard (Eugene, Ore.) with the headline, “Fans flock in to see pigs fly,” a story about racing pigs who jump hurdles at the local fair; and the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News with “Headless walruses littering beaches,” a story about poachers.

Emily Hedges is an assistant editor at the Newseum.

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